Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Brexit - can I see a light?

Theresa May is, at last, reaching out to Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, and trying to reach a consensus that parliament can get behind. I would hope that between the two of them, they can reach an agreement, which probably means a Brexit with a customs union and "a strong relationship" with the Single Market.

This, at a stroke, solves the whole problem of the Irish Backstop. It removes the problem of the frictions in trade that a crash-out will cause. And yet it conforms to the stated requirement of the referendum - we leave the EU.

Yes, it's true that this wouldn't be as good as the deal that we have now, but 17.4 million people have rejected that, so we have to respect the referendum, and do as well as we can within that.

But. Are there enough members of the Awkward Squad (Right wing) and the Awkward Squad (Left wing) to block this? I hope not.

One very good sign, is that Nigel Farage is incandescent with rage about this. Anything that infuriates Nigel, is probably good for the country.

So let's see what happens when Theresa meets Jeremy.


  1. Alas I strongly suspect our glorious leader is using this simply as a delaying tactic. She wants to tread water until the next EU summit, where she will ask for a long delay which (crucially) can be terminated immediately when parliament passes her deal. Meaningful vote 4 (& 5, 6, 7 etc.) is still her one and only idea.

    But if I'm wrong and she is entering into talks in good faith, what could the outcome be? The only thing she can offer Corbyn would be a customs union. Although most of her party would vote against this, it is in line with Labour policy and should pass comfortably with their support. But would she & Corbyn get it?

    Although a customs union is the Labour party's policy, so is a confirmatory referendum. A referendum is exactly what most Labour MPs & the Corbyn-supporting Momentum group want. But Corbyn doesn't want a referendum and May will never, ever accept one. So any customs union deal they concoct will inevitably fail - the Labour MPs will never vote for it.

    So the only plausible outcome of these talks is a deal that will have the support of even fewer MPs than what has already been rejected 3 times.

    And quite rightly. May's deal + customs union would leave the UK having to follow all the same EU rules and pay the same membership fees, but would no longer have a say in what the rules are.

    There are only 3 ways out of this mess. The unthinkable - stumbling out without a deal because parliament is paralysed. Parliament revoking article 50. Or finding out what the will of the people actually is by holding a meaningful referendum.

    Anything else would only prolong the current mess. A general election would not resolve the matter and would probably lead to another hung parliament. Only if Labour came out unequivocally for remain would the voters get a meaningful choice. But this would never happen under Corbyn. And in any case would just trigger a massive swing to UKIP in Labour's northern stronghold, resulting in another Tory minority government.

  2. The problem that I suspect they haven't spotted yet, is that whatever the "final" arrangement is, it can be changed by a future parliament. And no amount of legislation now, can stop that happening. Parliament can subsequently change what parliament decided.

    So how can the "final" agreement be locked it? Technically, it can't. But if you want the maximum deterrent to a future parliament reneging on the arrangement, the only way is ...

    ... a referendum.

  3. Another referendum would be such an easy solution. If May has such faith in her deal then why not put it to the people?

    This time it would be a straightforward, meaningful referendum with a clear, informed binary choice.

    (No need to spend 3 years and counting arguing what the question actually ment.)

    And whatever the outcome, it would undoubtedly be the will of the people.


    But she will never agree to one because, like her predecessors, she hasn't got the backbone (or parliamentary majority) to stand up to the lunatic fringe within her own party. Also, like most politicians, she is gripped by megalomania and incapable of relinquishing any of her power. (Or seeing that in the current situation she is already utterly powerless.)

    The best way forward for this country (after calling an end to this farce & revoking article 50) might be for both the Conservative & Labour parties to split. Each has longstanding internal divisions which have been unresolvable for 40+ years.